KCS graduation rate hits record high in 2017

KCS graduation rate hits record high in 2017
Posted on 09/07/2017
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The State Board of Education has approved final test results for the 2016-2017 school year. They show that Kannapolis City Schools achieved its highest graduation rate in district history: 85.9%.  That figure was an increase of more than three-and-a-half percentage points over the previous year’s graduation rate. In addition, five of the district’s eight schools met or exceeded the academic growth expectations set by the state. Kannapolis City Schools also improved its overall level of student proficiency in 2017. The charts below show the academic growth status of each KCS school, the percentage of students at each school that scored at grade level or above, and the district’s overall proficiency level by subject area.   

 

School Name

Academic Growth Status

% of students scoring at Level 3 or higher

Forest Park Elementary

Met

54.6

Fred L. Wilson Elementary

Met

47.0

Jackson Park Elementary

Met

44.0

Shady Brook Elementary

Exceeds

53.0

Woodrow Wilson Elementary

Met

50.3

Kannapolis Intermediate School

Not Met

44.9

Kannapolis Middle School

Not Met

43.4

A.L. Brown High School

Not Met

32.1

 

Achievement by Subject

KCS Total % proficient

(Levels 3–5)

Comparison to 2016 KCS proficiency rates

All subjects

43.5

+0.4

End of Grade Tests

45.3

+0.8

Math

42.3

+1.2

Reading

43.6

+0.8

Science

59.4

+0.2

End of Course Tests

35.2

-1.5

Math1

36.3

+2.8

Biology

32.3

-2.8

English II

36.3

-6.0

 

Kannapolis City Schools’ superintendent, Dr. Chip Buckwell, says the district is making progress and taking steps to increase gains in academic achievement at an even faster rate. “Our students are continuing to make academic growth, but our proficiency levels are still too low. We’re focused on raising achievement levels as quickly as possible and giving our students more opportunities. That’s why we’ve added supports for all our teachers, students, and principals across the district. We’re providing extra professional development that’s focused on making sure students get a deeper understanding of all their subjects. We’ve added magnet programs in A+ Arts, Global Studies, and Spanish Language Immersion. We’ve put in courses at the middle and high school levels in Engineering, Information Technology, and Graphic Design that will give students broader options and help increase achievement. We’re not where we want to be yet in terms of overall achievement, but we’re doing a lot of innovative things that will start making a big difference in academic performance and opportunities for our students.” 

 

Other steps KCS is taking to raise proficiency rates include constantly updating lesson plans and curriculum documents to make sure instruction is focused and effective. The district is providing high quality, ongoing feedback to teachers and principals to give them extra support for improving achievement. Instructional Coaches are getting specialized professional development to help them give more support to classroom teachers, and KCS is adding ways to monitor student progress during the year to make sure students get personalized instruction in the areas where they most need help.

 

North Carolina also released School Performance Grades for all public schools in the state. The grades are required by the legislature and give every school a letter grade from A to F. The grades are based on standardized test scores from the 2016-2017 school year. At the high school level, 80% of the grade is based on results from a variety of performance measures: end of course tests, four-year graduation rate, ACT scores, WorkKeys results, and the percentage of students that successfully complete higher level math. Only 20% of a high school’s grade is based on how much academic growth students make. For K-8 schools, 80% of their grade is based on end of grade test results while only 20% is based on academic growth.

The chart below shows the letter grade and composite scores for KCS. The achievement score for each school reflects student performance on standardized tests and makes up 80% of the school’s grade. The Growth Composite shows how much academic improvement students made in one school year. The results for Kannapolis City Schools show generally strong academic growth, but that educational improvement only makes up 20% of each school’s letter grade.

School

School Performance Grade

Achievement Composite

(Counts 80%)

Growth Composite

(Counts 20%)

Overall Performance Composite

Forest Park Elementary

C

55%

82.6%

60%

*Fred L. Wilson Elementary

D

47%

76.3%

53%

*Jackson Park Elementary

D

44%

83.3%

52%

Shady Brook Elementary

C

53%

90.1%

60%

Woodrow Wilson Elementary

C

50%

72.9%

55%

*Kannapolis Intermediate

D

45%

58.3%

48%

*Kannapolis Middle

D

43%

66.8%

48%

*A.L. Brown High

D

52%

50%

51%

                                                                                                                    *Considered Low Performing

Kannapolis City Schools did not have any schools that received a grade of F. However, under the school performance grading system, schools that receive a D or F are considered low performing even if their students meet the state’s expectations for academic growth. Using that standard, KCS has schools that are considered low performing despite the fact that some of them made growth.

 

Superintendent, Dr. Chip Buckwell, says he is disappointed that any measure is used to label schools. “It should always be about how much an individual student grows,” he says. “I hope our legislature will take another look at how it measures school performance grades. Research shows that the system we have now does a better job of measuring school poverty levels than it does student performance levels. Even though most of our schools made academic growth, they were not rewarded for that progress. We have students that are state champions in robotics and recent graduates attending U.S. Military Academies. We also had a 2017 graduate earn a full academic scholarship to Duke University. I don’t think a low-performing label accurately reflects what is happening in our classrooms. We’re committed to raising our proficiency levels, but we believe that North Carolina should reward schools and students for the academic growth they make. I hope the legislature will put more emphasis on academic growth when deciding how to grade schools.”

 

The chart below shows the relationship between the letter grade that schools received in 2015-2016 and the poverty levels of their students. 

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has posted additional data for schools, districts, and the state
at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/. The information released today will be included in the North Carolina School Report Card, which will be sent to all parents in October.  

 

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